Participatory. Immersive. Critical. How Freitag created an exhibition that checked off all three

To give our audience eyes and ears into the live judging sessions that took place at Frame Awards 2020, we're sharing coverage of the insightful jury conversations that decided the winning projects. Below, we celebrate the recipient of the award for Exhibition of the Year: Unfluencer – De-Sinning the Designer by Freitag Lab and Georg Lendorff. Unfluencer also took home the jury prize for Best Use of Light. Find the full collection of reports in our newly released May/June 2020 issue, Frame 134.

Milan – The jury members mulled over the Exhibition of the Year candidates for quite some time before arriving at the winner. The idea of participation was brought up often: which space was most engaging? Did the design prompt visitors to really interact with one another, to move around? For Shogo Kawata and Takashi Kudo of teamLab, answering these questions was key.

When asked to select her favourite project, MoMA’s senior deputy director of exhibitions and collections, Ramona Bronkar Bannayan, answered with the installation Unfluencer – De-sinning the Designer, saying it was ‘a bit of a guilty pleasure’. For Bannayan, the exhibition – developed by accessories retailer Freitag and Swiss artist Georg Lendorff for Milan Design Week 2019 – not only hit the participation mark, but did so with cleverness, humour and an interesting point of view. Shown as part of the Ventura Centrale exhibition, Unfluencer consisted of an immersive light installation by Lendorff, in which visitors were playfully prompted to share with one another the ‘sins’ they’ve committed as designers and consumers. But confession wasn’t met without the opportunity for contrition. As a symbol of commitment, the ‘sinners’ used handheld inkjet printers to print their pledges directly onto their clothes and bags. The idea? We should be talking about bad design, not only about good design.

Advocating for exhibitions that encouraged participation, the jury members found what they were looking for in Unfluencer: an immersive environment for design ‘sinners’ to reflect and repent.

The idea also resonated with Daria Jelonek and Francesco Moncada, cofounders of Studio Above&Below and Moncada Rangel, respectively. ‘The exhibition was perfect for the venue in Milan,’ reflected Moncada, who appreciated that it surpassed pure aesthetics and challenged the event itself. These points eventually won over the representatives from teamLab, who had originally stood alongside the People’s Choice voters in favouring The Art of Bloom.

The People’s Choice award went to Art of Bloom by Intertrend Communication and Daikoku Design Institute.

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